After identifying an ergonomic risk, it can be challenging for OSH professionals to generate solutions because little guidance is available on how to arrive at ideas for specific ergonomic solutions.
This article presents a methodology and tool that can be used to generate innovative solutions for ergonomic risks. A structured brainstorming session can improve the quantity and quality of potential ergonomic solutions.
Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) such as sprains and strains, muscle fatigue, ligament strains, disc injuries of the low back and tendon inflammation continue to be a significant problem in industry. These injuries have an adverse impact on business through lost work time, increased absenteeism, increased workers’ compensation costs, reduced employee morale, reduced and poorer quality productivity (CDC, 2020; NIOSH, 2014; NRC & IOM, 2001).
Guidance on how to solve musculoskeletal problems in the workplace typically includes developing and implementing programs that comprise issues such as top management support, employee involvement, problem identification, risk quantification and a process to implement controls (Burgess- Limerick, 2018; Chengalur et al., 2004; Lyon et al., 2013; OSHA, 2012). While these elements are crucial to the ergonomics process, little guidance exists for safety practitioners in the problem-solving process and identifying specific solutions (e.g., a product, a new method) to fit within unique business process elements.